Tedesco eyes golden boot to cap year

James Tedesco
James Tedesco

James Tedesco has set his sights on a dominant end of season for the Kangaroos to put him the running for the golden boot that controversially evaded his grasp last season.

Undoubtedly now the best player in the world, Tedesco added another gong to his overflowing trophy cabinet on Monday night with the Players' Champion award.

In the last year alone he has also claimed the Kangaroos' Harry Sunderland medal, State of Origin's Wally Lewis Medal, NSW's Brad Fittler Medal, the NRL's Dally M and Sydney Roosters' Jack Gibson Medal.

However, he was overlooked for the Golden Boot last year for the best international player, outvoted by England winger Tommy Makinson.

But with Tests ahead against New Zealand and Tonga, Tedesco has set his sights on capping his year off by being the game's best on the global stage.

"Hopefully the Golden Boot as well is another award I can go for," Tedesco said.

"But that obviously doesn't mean too much.

"That was my debut last year for Australia and I wanted to put my best foot forward.

"I had the greatest fullback of all time before me now in Billy Slater. I had big boots to fill and I definitely want to hold onto that position for as long as I can."

In one of the greatest seasons of all time, Tedesco scored the match-winner for the Sydney Roosters in the grand final and NSW in the State of Origin decider.

He also polled the most Dally M votes in more than a decade with his dominant year, and became just the second man behind Johnathan Thurston to win more than one players' union top gong.

But he said the enormity of what he'd achieved through the multiple individual awards was something he likely wouldn't appreciate until the end of his career.

"In the present time premierships are the most important one," he said.

"To be able to celebrate the year you have worked so hard for with teammates.

"To have these individual accolades, I think it will mean more when I finish my career and be able to look at them in the cabinet.

"It doesn't mean too much now but when I look back in history it will."

Tedesco noted on Monday night he was a different and more consistent player now to when he first won the Players' Champion at the Wests Tigers in 2017.

"I think it's different. When I was back with the Tigers I was No.1 for the team there trying to do a bit more," he said.

"Where at the Roosters I am just doing my role and having more success. It's a different role.

"I have definitely evolved and matured as a player since then and hopefully I can still learn and evolve over the next few years as well.

"These awards mean a lot but it doesn't mean I am going to rest back on my laurels."

Australian Associated Press